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A man and woman fight with lightsabers in this image from Disney Plus
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in a lightsaber duel in “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.” (Image: Disney Plus)

New ideas in Hollywood are hard to come by, which explains the deluge of remakes, reboots, and sequels. Capitalizing on a successful movie is a sure bet, whereas trying something new can be a money pit. It’s a logical move for studios, but it has created a stagnant movie culture. Sequels can range from bad to good, but the worst sequels damage the original film's legacy. Below is a list of the worst film sequels.

‘The Godfather Part III’ (1990)

A well-dressed man and woman in this image from Peacock
Mary (Sofia Coppola) and Vincent (Andy Garcia). (Image: Peacock)

The first two “Godfather” films are classics (and they’re available on Peacock), so when director Francis Ford Coppola signed on for “The Godfather Part III,” no one questioned whether the film would be good. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a mistake. “The Godfather Part III” was a thorough disappointment, and many fans still prefer not to acknowledge the film. There are many reasons “The Godfather Part III” doesn’t work, but the biggest is that the film’s ambitious plot fails to present a cohesive narrative. Many also criticized the acting of Sofia Coppola — the director’s daughter.

Director Coppola returned to the film for the 30th anniversary with 2020’s “The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.” This re-edited version righted many of the original film’s wrongs, and Coppola said it was the cut he originally planned.

‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy (2012 to 2014)

A hobbit rides a pony in this image from HBO Max
Bilbo (Martin Freeman) goes on a life-changing journey. (Image: Max)

“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was a masterpiece, with an impressive 17 Oscars to show for it. Director Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic did justice to J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels in a way few other fantasy or sci-fi adaptations have done. With such success, it was only logical that “The Lord of the Rings” would return. The first of three “The Hobbit” films was released in 2012 with Peter Jackson again at the helm, but it left fans wanting more.

Where “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy covered one novel per movie, “The Hobbit” stretched a single novel into three films. It was an obvious money grab. Even with popular returning characters such as Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), “The Hobbit” trilogy could not escape mediocrity. Things may have been different had “The Hobbit” been a single film. If you want to see them for yourself, all three films are available on Max.

‘Monsters University’ (2013)

A monster attending university in this image from Disney Plus
Mike (Billy Crystal) goes to school. (Image: Disney Plus)

Disney’s Pixar has cranked out more classics than any other animation studio, and “Monsters, Inc.” was one of the first. Like many great Pixar films, “Monsters, Inc.” made you laugh and cry without it feeling forced. It was an instant success for Pixar, but the studio left the franchise alone despite an amazing cliffhanger that left audiences wanting a sequel. Instead of a sequel in which Mike (Billy Crystal), Sully (John Goodman), and Boo (Mary Gibbs) are reunited, Pixar returned to school with the release of “Monsters University.”

The prequel film follows Mike and Sully’s freshman year in college, but the plot never reaches the heights of “Monsters, Inc.” There are plenty of laughs, but the film is missing the emotional component that made the original so special. It would have been better to leave the “Monsters, Inc.” franchise on the shelf. Rewatch the classic first film, streaming on Disney Plus.

‘Iron Man 3’ (2013)

A man in a mechanized suit sits on a couch in this image from Disney Plus
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) lounges in his Iron Man suit. (Image: Disney Plus)

Before “Iron Man” was released in 2008, the hero was barely known outside comic book circles, allowing Marvel to try something different. It worked out better than they could have hoped. The Robert Downey Jr.–led film started the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), with better-known heroes such as Captain America and Thor appearing a few years later. While the MCU took off, the “Iron Man” franchise would never reach the same heights again.

The follow-up, “Iron Man 2,” wasn’t as good as the original, but performances from Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell saved the film. “Iron Man 3,” however, could not be saved. Like the original film, Tony Stark (Downey) is an underdog in “Iron Man 3,” rebuilding himself after a defeat that leads people to believe he died. It may have been an interesting story, but it was ruined by a red-herring villain and a plot with too much going on. Stark is redeemed in later Marvel films, but “Iron Man 3” missed the opportunity to wrap up the Iron Man franchise with style.

‘Justice League’ (2017)

Three people in superhero costumes in this image from HBO Max
The Flash (Ezra Miller), Batman (Ben Affleck), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). (Image: Max)

Zack Snyder’s vision of the DC Extended Universe was divisive, especially with Ben Affleck as Batman. Both “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” did well at the box office, but not so great among critics. Reviewers rightly pointed out that the dark, gritty look didn’t work for Superman, a hero colloquially known as the blue boy scout. Still, fans were eager to see the heroes of the DC universe unite in “Justice League,” the third Snyder-directed DC film. After shooting, however, Snyder left the production due to a family tragedy, leaving Joss Whedon to handle post-production. The final product was a mess.

“Justice League” felt like a rush job. Visual effects were nowhere near the quality of Marvel films, which audiences had gotten used to, and the plot, villain, and character development felt undercooked. It should’ve been DC’s moment to shine, especially with megastars including Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, and Jason Momoa together on screen.

The film was so bad that fans later petitioned the studio to release the “Snyder cut” of the film, which eventually came to fruition. The remade film, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” was released four years later and turned out infinitely better than the original. The newer version had a plot you could follow, a decent villain, and CGI that looked magnitudes better. Yet even the polished film edit couldn’t remove all of the original’s stink. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is available on Max with a premium subscription.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ (2018)

A ship sails away from a burning island in this image from fuboTV
A ship escapes Isla Nublar as it’s consumed by a volcano eruption. (Image: fuboTV)

The return of “Jurassic Park” was well received, with “Jurassic World” becoming the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time. It didn’t capture the same movie magic as Steven Spielberg’s films, but “Jurassic World” nonetheless offered an entertaining experience. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard had great chemistry on screen, with a toxic will-they-won’t-they vibe that added comedic relief to a film mostly filled with action. The plot played it safe, again showing the dinosaur park’s slow descent into absolute chaos. But when the sequel arrived three years later, it failed to deliver.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” had an interesting plot, with the main characters dealing with the fallout of the park’s doom. With a more limited scope and fewer scenes on the island, however, the film was boring. Most of its second half takes place in a mansion, a considerable step down from the magnificent scenes on Isla Nublar in the first film.

‘Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker’ (2019)

A large group of spaceships in this image from Disney Plus
An armada of spaceships readies for battle. (Image: Disney Plus)

There are few movie franchises as storied as “Star Wars,” which has had its ups and downs since the first film debuted in 1977. With nine mainline films and multiple spin-offs, a few “Star Wars” films could be on this list, but none more so than the final installment. After reviving the Skywalker saga with 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the franchise seemed to be in good hands. After a divisive sequel, however, the franchise stooped even lower with “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.”

The film’s weak plot resulted from a chaotic development, which saw the script undergo numerous revisions late into production. Colin Trevorrow was initially set to direct the final film in the “Star Wars” franchise, but he left due to creative differences. The director’s chair ultimately went to J.J. Abrams, who had previously directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The changing of hands was not conducive to making a great film. Bringing back the Big Bad from the original trilogy was lazy writing, while Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) redemption arc felt rushed and unconvincing. “Star Wars” has been redeemed with excellent TV series such as “The Mandalorian,” but “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” is a stain on the legendary franchise.

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